An innovative project to reduce the demands on hospital and police staff in A&E at the Royal Blackburn Hospital has scooped a national award for collaboration.
The scheme involves two highly trained and extensively skilled police liaison officers placed within the A&E department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital and is funded by the CCG commissioners in Pennine Lancashire.
The NHS collaboration award organised by the magazine Health Business is a much prized award and as such is very competitive. The A&E scheme went up against stiff opposition and won due to the partnership and team work between Lancashire Constabulary and the NHS in Pennine Lancashire – involving Blackburn with Darwen CCG, East Lancashire CCG and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT), and Lancashire Care Foundation NHS Trust.
The scheme consists of a Pennine Lancashire Hospital Early Action Team which is based at the hospital to provide a more co-ordinated and integrated police support role within A&E. The scheme seeks to support individuals who visit A&E in a distressed state as the result of alcohol and substance misuse or mental health problems.
The officers have worked with hospital staff to identify and support individuals who attend A&E as a result of challenging behaviour, alcohol and substance misuse or with a mental health problem. The organisations involved in the scheme established it to help reduce pressure on A&E as well as actively support those patients affected.
The scheme began in April this year, and is now fully operational.
Dr Chris Clayton, Clinical Chief Officer at Blackburn with Darwen CCG said:
“I am delighted that this award recognises the integrated work and collaboration between all of our organisations. Patients and the public tell us that health and other services could be better joined up and this is a perfect example where organisations have worked collectively to achieve this in A&E. Patients should be reassured that we are working hard together to achieve the best outcomes and services for them”
Dr Mike Ions, Chief Clinical Officer at East Lancashire CCG said:
“A&E is a precious service, and it experiences a high level of demand from patients throughout the year, but notably during the winter months. By helping individuals access other services which are more appropriate for them, it is helping to ease the pressure on A&E and enable A&E staff to focus on patients who have attended as a result of an accident or an emergency”
Chris Bithell, Chief Superintendent, East Division, Lancashire Constabulary said:
“Joint partnership working is an essential part of our work. This scheme has enabled us to respond quickly and early with appropriate interventions for individuals who attend A&E but don’t need A&E services. Early intervention is part and parcel of the role of police officers to successfully respond to the challenges that this group of individuals have. I am committed to ensuring the Constabulary’s work is focussed around early action, and this scheme will hopefully ensure residents receive the help and support they require at the earliest possible opportunity. Our collaboration with the NHS has been very productive and worthwhile for everyone”
Gillian Simpson, Director of Operations at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust said:
“I am really pleased that this scheme has received the recognition that it rightly deserves. It is a good example of organisations working in partnership with the patient firmly at the centre of things. It has provided an ideal opportunity to benefit the patients in ensuring that they get directed to appropriate services. It also gives our staff increased support on site and increases police efficiency. This example of safe, personal and effective care has resulted in a better experience for all patients who attend our Emergency Department. It will help to reduce emergency admissions, re-admissions and streamline the way care is provided to ensure safe and dignified care.”
The officers have then worked with a number of key organisations to identify and proactively manage these individuals identified and encourage them to access other health, community and social care organisations such as mental health, housing, adult social care and substance misuse services instead of the A & E department.
Working closely with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust (ELHT) clinicians and other health professionals within A&E and other departments (as appropriate) an agreed care pathway will then be developed to enable a managed approach in seeking to change.